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Information Access Division

We provide evaluations, measurements and standards to advance technologies related to access to multimedia and other complex information.

The Information Access Division is one of six technical divisions in the Information Technology Laboratory.

In a world where technologies such as fingerprint scanners and facial recognition devices evolve on a seemingly regular basis, the Information Access Division (IAD) provides standards and measurements to accelerate this evolution. IAD not only helps complex technologies grow but also tests them to ensure they are used correctly and efficiently.

IAD supports technologies used to access potentially complex information from multimedia devices or biometric devices, such as digital video recording systems or iris scanners. Through collaborations with industry, academia, and the federal government, IAD enables the advancement of these technologies for commercial usage.


Image representing Multimodal Information
Credit: Shutterstock

Multimodal Information Group

The Multimodal Information Group focuses on measurement and evaluation methods to facilitate the use of technologies that provide easier access to multimedia and multilingual information and improve human-computer interface modalities. 


Image Representing Digital Video Exchange Standards
Credit: Shutterstock

Retrieval Group

The Retrieval Group facilitates retrieval research involving large, unstructured text files by providing test collections and organizing the Text REtrieval Conference (TREC) and its proceedings. The group focuses mainly on collections to support specific information retrieval sub-tasks, such as cross-language retrieval and multimedia retrieval.


Image representing biometrics
Credit: Shutterstock

Image Group

The Image Group focuses on developing standards, measurement methods, and best practice guidelines for biometric technologies. The Group promotes accuracy and interoperability by working closely with other government agencies, law enforcement, industry, and academia to support needs in the biometrics community.



Biometric Usability for U.S. Entry Points
Credit: DHS

Visualization and Usability Group

The public safety community is undergoing a transition in communication capabilities. The Visualization and Usability Group works to develop a high-speed backbone, the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), to enable law enforcement officers, firefighters, and paramedics to send data, images, video, and location information in realtime. 



Projects and Programs


The standard specifies formats to be used for exchanging fingerprint and other image data.

Biometric Compression Information

In July of 2009 NIST in partnership with the FBI commenced an investigation on the use of JPEG 2000 for compressing fingerprint imagery with the ultimate goal

Biometric Quality

Performance of biometric systems is dependent on the quality of the acquired input samples. If quality can be improved, either by sensor design, by user



The biometrics community recommended a new, open source, generalized version of NFIQ to be developed in consultation and collaboration with users and industry.

Video Analytic Quality Measurement Tools

This Tool set has been created to facilitate video quality metric research and foster future R&D.Development was sponsored as part of video quality research by

Biometric Evaluation Framework

Biometric Evaluation Framework is a set of C++ classes, error codes, and design patterns used to create a common environment to provide logging, data management


Press Coverage


Division Chief

Deputy Division Chief